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71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A meticulous depiction of the numbing and normalizing effects of television, Michael Haneke's 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994) "is the most intelligent and powerful study by cinema" (Maximilian Le Cain, Senses of Cinema) of the 20th century's quintessential medium. A "cool, cerebral and painstaking" (Time Out London) examination of several characters, including an Austrian university student who goes on a shooting spree, the third installment of Haneke's "glaciation trilogy" is a mosaic of 71 film tableaux - beautifully shot by cinematographer Christian Berger (Cache and The Piano Teacher). In 71 Fragments, clips of TV news segments on warfare in the former Yugoslavia alternate between stories of urban disconnection. And while continuing to approach filmmaking from an anti-psychological perspective, German-born Haneke assembles a unified work from snippets of narrative, such as Inge (Anne Bennet) and Paul Brunner (Udo Samel) struggling with a newly adopted daughter, and a homeless Romanian boy wandering the streets of Vienna. Moreover, and as expected from Haneke, 71 Fragments closes with an unforgettable cinematic punch, which also stands as a presage of his "later masterpieces by virtue of both its style and thematic core" (Adam Bingham, Senses of Cinema).

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German-Austrian director Michael Haneke's experimental feature film, 71 Fragments: A Chronology of Chance, explores the bleak, disjointed lives of several people only to tie them together at the end, during a tragic, violent climax. Five-to-ten minute segments, spliced together, unravel fractured narratives from ten sets of people, ranging from a couple frustrated by their newly-adopted girl, to a daughter who, to spite her aging father, prevents him from spending time with his granddaughter, to a young runaway who survives German winters in subway stations, stealing and panhandling for food, cigarettes, and comic books. Between these narratives, real news footage reporting on Yugoslavian and Turkish wars, and the Michael Jackson molestation trial, makes the world within the film even larger and colder. It’s as if Haneke made ten movies, chopped the films into short strips, and edited them back together like Frankenstein, opting for ambience instead of plot. Full of characters who are "sorry that they exist," 71 Fragments contains little of the actual violence that viewers sometimes loathe in Haneke’s work. In an interview included in the extras, Haneke says of this third film in his "glaciation" trilogy, that 71 Fragments: A Chronology of Chance documents failed communication. That said, this film meditates on human isolation by distilling violence down into one chilling, final action, feeling more like a cry for help than a wish to separate further from humanity. —Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • New video interview with director Michael Haneke

Product Details

  • Actors: Gabriel Cosmin Urdes, Lukas Miko, Otto Grünmandl, Anne Bennent, Udo Samel
  • Directors: Michael Haneke
  • Writers: Michael Haneke
  • Producers: Michael Böhme, Paul Bielicki, Veit Heiduschka, Willi Segler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EQ5V2C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,308 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance" on IMDb

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William Shriver on September 3, 2007
Format: DVD
This is a work concerned with the social impact of TV, a medium Marshall McLuhan described as "cool," or requiring a lot of investment by the viewer, as compared to cinema. Michael Haneke, though, seems intent on making cinema the "coolest" (in the McLuhanesque sense) medium of all. That is especially evident in this third entry in what he has called his "Glaciation Trilogy," so called because the three films address aspects of "the coldness of the society in which we live." (Haneke)

The movie opens with a title card that gives away the end of the movie. A college student named Max B. is, on December 23, 1993, going to go into a Viennese bank and shoot three people dead, then turn the gun on himself. From there we proceed to the threads of the story, beginning on October 12, 1993.

Basically, there are seven main characters. There is Max, the college student; Marian Radu, an ethnic Romanian boy from Bucharest, has come to Austria because he has heard "people are nice to children" there; Tomek, an elderly man, lives an isolated life even though his daughter also lives in Vienna; Inge and Paul Brunner are a childless couple in the process of adopting a daughter; and Hans and Maria are a married couple at wits end, due to the illness of their infant. Three of these will be dead at the end of the film. Two of them will be at the bank because they are habitually there. So, the "chance" of the title really only refers to one character, at least as regards the shootings.

The "71 Fragments" are isolated from each other by black-outs. About twenty of these segments prominently feature a television or a monitor. Several others feature them as audio elements, or have them playing out of focus in a portion of the screen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Zarathustra on June 30, 2010
Format: DVD
The Seventh Continent and Benny's Video (see my reviews), the first two films of Haneke's trilogy, take a micro view of two troubled Austrian families. 71 Fragments takes a macro look at Vienna at Christmas with fragments of television newscasts showing a violent world and looks at various Viennese residents coping with the stresses of the holiday season. At the end of the film a young man, unable to handle the stress, takes out a gun and kills a number of people at random.
In his director's filmed comments Michael Haneke explains why he presents the film in fragments. He says that in many violent films we tend to sympathize with the villain because he is presented as a complete and admirable character. He also explains that true art is beautiful not for what it shows but for what it does not show.
The three films are included in the Haneke seven film box set, which I strongly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miles on October 25, 2011
Format: DVD
This is my favorite of Haneke's early trilogy, even though it's the most subtle and challenging of the group, because it is so humane and compassionate, despite the coldness, pessimism, and threat of violence that haunts the entire film. It reminds me a lot of his later film, Code Unknown. What I took away from this movie is that the world is a cold place full of alienated people who can't or won't make meaningful connections with others. Random violence, rather than being an extraordinary event, is a representation of this condition. The Mikado game has a lot of resonances in this movie. Out of the random fragments of life, you struggle to make the best of your circumstances. Also, people are inextricably interconnected with each other whether they realize it or not and cannot act without influencing others in an infinite chain of contingencies. The game with the shapes is significant also. Even though this film is depressing and pessimistic, it doesn't leave you hopelessly numbed and apathetic like other depressing movies. Instead, it makes you want to try harder in your personal relationships and in your role as citizen in a diverse society.
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